I crewed on both the morning and afternoon charters this Saturday for Matt. On the morning charter we went to Halfway Rock and Southeast Breakers with a group from East Coast Divers. On the afternoon charter we made it out to the wreck of the Baleen.
In the morning we had a bit of an incoming swell but otherwise topside conditions were great. Divers reported approximately 10-20ft of visibility. They said it varied depending on depth. We spotted harbor seals on the surface and a whale off in the distance.
Baleen or Holmes?
For the afternoon charter we had scheduled it as a technical charter in the 150-165′ range so that would mostly likely mean the Baleen or the Alma E.A. Holmes. Both are good wrecks for depths in the 160′ range depending on the tide. I have a lot more dives on the Holmes from winter charters aboard the Gauntlet.
We opted to make a run for the wreck of Baleen since we had not been there in a while. Ian, Sang L. Mark A., Matt H., and Lea H. were on the boat. A nice split of 3 rEvos and 3 JJ CCRs. Technically rEvo wins the count with 4 if you include mine. 🙂
The Baleen was 102ft steel tugboat that sank on November 1st, 1975 due to an engine room fire and rough seas. This was actually only my third dive on the Baleen. As with most charters in New England I had been blown out more times than I can count before I actually got to dive on her.
Conditions were even nicer than this morning. The seas flattened out and we had mild swell. The sun even poked it’s head out.
Setting The Hook
The sea was absolute glass when we arrived at the GPS coordinates for the Baleen. Unfortunately no old moorings were present on the surface so we had to tie-in a new one. Not exactly a shock given the sea state in the past few months and the state of most moorings post-conditions from Hurricane Jose.
Once she was located on the depth finder we dropped the weighted shot line and I splashed in to “set the hook.” By “hook”, I mean find something of suitable size and substance on the wreck to tie into that will hold without breaking.
Unfortunately the shot line ended up about ~50-75ft off the wreck so I had to run a reel out to locate her. My first direction yielded no wreck so I performed a circular sweep and eventually run into the wreck right at the stern.
I tied my reel off to a suitable location on the stern for the tie-in, went back to unshackle the line from the mushroom weight, and then completed the tie-in. I returned to the mushroom weight with my reel and sent up my lift bag to let the boat know they were safe to attach to the mooring.
I hung around the mooring for a bit until I felt the boat hook-in and waited for the few divers to descend down the mooring line before I did another lap around the Baleen.
Conditions on the Baleen
It’s always nice having the wreck to yourself even if it’s just for a little bit. I enjoy the solitude of being the only person on a wreck. I thought the visibility was approximately ~15ft. Another person on the boat estimated 10ft and one other person overly estimated 20ft. I’ll split the difference with my 15ft estimate.
As with a lot of deeper wrecks the bow and stern are covered in frilled anemones. There are quite a few ghost lines from old moorings and abandoned lobster pots on the wreck. One of these days it would be nice to do a clean-up dive on her and cut away some of the old mooring lines.
Max depth of 165ft, a runtime of 76 minutes with about 32 minutes spent on the bottom. Water temperature was 46f on the botton with 56f on deco. Matt’s new hang bar on the Daybreaker at 20ft makes for a nice deco station as you can see in the profile